Accessibility

 
Dunes Wheelchair
Sign out a dunes wheelchair at the Visitor Center, then pick it up near the Dunes Parking Area.

NPS/Patrick Myers

Great Sand Dunes is continually working to improve access so that everyone can experience this unique landscape. If you have special needs or particular questions, please contact a staff member at 719-378-6395, or email us.

Access to the Dunes

The closest parking to the dunefield is the Dunes Parking Area, located 1 mile north of the Visitor Center. There is an accessible mat from the dunes parking area to the edge of the Medano Creek and the sand. However, beyond the edge of the dunes, loose sand and the creek make access into the dunefield itself nearly impossible for those with traditional thin-wheeled chairs.

Two sand wheelchairs are available for loan at the Visitor Center. One is designed for adults, and one for children. Although a helper is required to push the chairs through soft sand, large inflatable tires make short trips across the sand possible.

Please keep these guidelines in mind when using sand wheelchairs:

  • The adult chair is not suitable for very large adults, or for an adult holding a child. The balloon tires can only support standard adult weight limits.
  • Chairs should be borrowed only by those who need a chair for access.
  • You'll need to leave an ID at the Visitor Center to ensure that the closet key is returned. Return the chairs at least 1/2 hour before the visitor center closes.
  • Sand wheelchairs should only go on sand or smooth pavement, never on rocks or cactus which may pop the balloon tires.
  • While the chairs are easy to push in the wet, firm sand along Medano Creek, pushing the chairs through dry, soft sand takes some strength and perseverance, even with balloon tires. During dry times of the year, the sand may become especially soft.
  • Reserve a wheelchair in advance by calling the Visitor Center at 719-378-6395.

Visitor Center

Open daily, the building and rest rooms are fully accessible. A 20-minute captioned introductory film is shown every half hour during the summer months and on request during the winter months. Learn more about the Visitor Center.

Camping at Piñon Flats Campground

Reserve an accessible campsite in the Great Sand Dunes campground. Facilities include easy access to accessible rest rooms, picnic tables and fire rings. Learn more about Piñon Flats Campground.

Sawmill Canyon Backcountry Campsite

An accessible backcountry site is available by reservation at 719-378-6395, or in person if not reserved in advance. Located 0.7 miles north on the Medano Pass Road (trailhead accessible by regular car), the two-car parking area and camp can accommodate up to four wheelchairs. The hardened trail to the campsite is 0.1 mile long, and has a maximum grade of 6%. Facilities include an elevated tent pad, picnic table, fire grate, firewood and food storage containers, and a private accessible pit toilet. Call (719) 378-6395 for information or reservations.

Picnicking at the Dunes Picnic Area

There is one accessible site with a hardened trail to a nearby accessible restroom. The site is shaded and close to a small seasonal creek. Learn more about picnicking at Great Sand Dunes.

Free Ranger Programs

Most programs are accessible. Daily programs take place at the Visitor Center. Evening programs are offered many nights in the amphitheater from late May through early September. A paved, lighted, and mostly level trail leads from the campground to the amphitheater. For programs in the sand, you may check out a dunes wheelchair. Check with park staff for other offerings that may be accessible.

Last updated: September 12, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Visitor Center
11999 State Highway 150

Mosca, CO 81146

Phone:

(719) 378-6395

Contact Us